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tv   Lectures in History 19th- Century Artist Winslow Homer  CSPAN  October 7, 2018 12:00am-1:31am EDT

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the long journey to hawaii to the 39th stop of our 50 capitals tour. during us all weekend to watch our visit to hawaii on c-span's book tv and american history tv. we were feature stops across the hawaiian island showcasing the beauty, history and literary culture of the 50th state. ♪ next on lectures in history. university professor david teaches a class on 19th-century artist winslow homer. homer served as an artist correspondent for harper's weekly during the civil war. and first gain notice for his painting of world related scene. in his post or career, he depicted various aspects of american life with a focus on frontier and marine themed. professor lupin explores the symbolism down in homer's work.
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as well as meditations on nature. his class is about 80 minutes. >> hello, everybody. welcome back to class. good to see you after our long break. last time we talked about american jon runyan paintings -- american genre paintings. genrek to be a bona fide painter back in the date you had to have three names. so, in our class today we are going to talk about the greatest -- probably the greatest american genre painter winslow homer. whose work began during the civil war. a genreled homer painter is like calling michelangelo a ceiling painter. that is not really -- he goes beyond that. he is genre painting with a difference.
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in cambridge, massachusetts, where harvard is, right outside of boston. homer and his family had nothing to do with harvard. person,ot in educated he never went to college or university. he was a townie to the harvard county's. as a young man he apprenticed with a printmaker. that was his livelihood. prints andg to make illustrate for local boston publications. -- he wrote to the top pretty quickly because of the skills. he started illustrating for harpers weekly magazine, a much prominent weekly magazine of the pre-civil war and civil war era. when the civil war broke out in 1861, homer was sent to the front lines as an artist correspondent.
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it was like a war reporter, war journalist. he starts doing depictions of union camp and what it was like teeing a union soldier, and a sense, reporting back to the families of soldiers what life was like at the front. by and large, these were a happy, nonthreatening images. to see thisnted grisly, terrible battle. homer's pictures had a certain levity to them. almost from the beginning there is an undertone that people probably did not recognize. only now do we see the depth and darkness of these images. the first images, one that i am partial to his called army of the potomac. a sharpshooter on picket duty. this appeared in harper's weekly november 13, 1862.
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it is a black-and-white drawing of a union soldier perched any tree, holding a rifle up against his face. he is using the tree to support the rifle barrel and also to support himself. his canteen is hanging from the trunk of the tree, almost as if it is a giant knot in the tree. then you see the fir quality of the tree. what do you see about the man's face? what can you tell about his face? riley? >> he seems very focused. prof. lubin: he is very focused. that becomes a theme throughout homer's work, the mental concentration. this intense concentration.
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what else, what can you see about him, is he smiling? is he frowning? can you identify this man? >> the gun is completely covering. prof. lubin: ok, great, the gun is completely covering the man's face. the brim of his hat is covering it. the shadow of the hat. this is another thing we will see in homer. he didn't really like to paint faces. it is not because he was not talented. i think he will develop a reason for that. the individual face of a person was not important to him. the body language was. i think homer is the greatest american artist of body language as a revealer of interstate of mind. with this man, we see the gun almost coming out of his face. it is like a prosthesis. it is a mechanical extension of the man's body or face. he is gazing and the camera
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barrel is extending that gaze. almost in an autobiographical way like homer himself is concentrating, staring, i say he is one of the great observers of american art. this is an image of a man intensely focusing and observing. however, is it a benign thing he is doing? russell. >> i am not so sure. i think it is almost as if it is a comment on a soldier in the time of war, he is no longer a person. he is an extension. prof. lubin: do you hear that. russell's claim is that this image is showing that the man at war becomes a dehumanized and becomes a part of a war machinery.
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that is a meaning i am not so sure that anybody in homer's time recognized. part of what he is doing here is the dehumanization of warfare. whether it is benign or not, much of it depends on perspective. if you are part of the union army or you are a yankee, then yes, he is protecting his call leaks, his comrades by being up in a tree and looking for suspicious activity by a confederate. if you are a confederate soldier, it is not so benign at all, it is this faceless , homer isny tree taking life away in a precipitous manner, as snipers do. what kind of balance would you
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say this man has in a tree? ande carefully anchored stable or is he in a precarious position? >> i would say not very anchored. he is holding on by one hand and he is balancing on just the stem. prof. lubin: exactly. i mean, imagine being in a tree, sitting on this bow, trying to hold this heavy rifle and get a point --eady, in pinpoint fix on your target. it is a balancing act. i would say yes, an image of precariousness. sarah, what is the relevance of the precariousness of the man's body to the larger theme of war? >> i think the most stable object in the entire image is the gun. i agree with russell's opinion
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that the gun is the most important thing in the man is basically covered by it because he is now the weapon. his face does not matter, his identity does not matter. having his body off centered are not grounded within the tree makes sense but having begun very level does. prof. lubin: everything is gone to the purpose of the gun. the gun is what it is all about. the man and the tree are both subservient to the war machinery. that is a powerful thought which is consistent with homer, throughout his career. he is almost philosophically examined the role of the individual within the larger social forces. homer started off drawing but was not a painter.
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his mother was an amateur watercolor artist. we think that is where he got his artistic skills. but he as a painter was entirely self-taught. around 1863, he started a series probably baseds, on the drawings he had done well in the camp. he is still in the field doing this, still at war. this is possibly his first painting. i will give you the title of it later. what do you see here? anybody, tell me what is basically happening? mitchell, back there, what do you see? >> i see two union soldiers passing time, watching something. prof. lubin: ok, so it is two union soldiers outside their , sort of hanging out
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their laundry to dry. there is a fire going on and maybe a little coffee tin that is boiling some coffee. we talk about genre painting, this is a genre painting of two ordinary soldiers, nothing special, nothing unusual. these are not heroic figures. these are not men who we are supposed to praise. they are just ordinary grunts going about daily life on the camp. there is a band playing in the background. it is probably playing some sort of early morning music. what about the body language of these two people? >> i think it seems to disconnect them from the whole idea of the union.
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most of what we have seen has been glorifying war because of the politics of the period. they seem like they don't care. prof. lubin: that is great, these are men who are not driven by passionate ideals to support the country or to end slavery. these are soldiers who are doing a soldier's job. they are not too thrilled about it. it is not a situation of danger. it is a situation of boredom. sort of the boredom of life when you are not about to fight. a great writers famous book "red badge of courage" basically -- was not written until the describest basically the soldiers' anxiety to get into battle. they want something to happen after all these days of waiting around. these men are tent mates, they are roommates. how are they interacting with each other?
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haley. >> they are not facing one another so i think it is boredom, they are just waiting for an order, something to do. prof. lubin: that is very good. they are not facing to each other. in fact, one soldier has turned his back on the other. imagine if you and your roommate interacted like that. it would suggest get out of my space, i need my own space. i don't want to egg knowledge you are there. -- egg knowledge were there. both men are looking down. -- this is a beautiful homer moment, both men are looking down but it is almost as if they are looking at different things. they are not even looking at the world around them. they are probably looking into their past or future. they are elsewhere. homer shows in a very confined space, to soldiers who are not
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-- two soldiers who are not related but they parallel one another with gestures. they are in the same boat mentally but different places mentally. the title of the painting -- can anybody imagine with the title of the painting is? home sweet home. is that humorous? what is the joke here? what is home sweet home? there is a song about it. it is the place everybody wants to go. >> when you think of home sweet home you think of comfort and positivity. when i think of home sweet home i think of a lot more positivity. like the warmth of the family as well. prof. lubin: there is maybe even a double irony here. this is their home sweet home, ha ha ha, this tent where they
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have to sleep on rainy nights and eat lousy food. but it is also mentally, they are leaving this bad surrogate for home and going instead to the home they left behind. the artist we study last week, the one painting we did not get to at the end was her painting which is a beautifully painted image of a mother reading a newspaper account of a union victory in vicksburg, tennessee while her children are parading around the parlor room oblivious to the seriousness of war. the mother understand the seriousness of war. because the children's father, her husband would be a yankee soldier somewhere in the front. or maybe of vicksburg. i put these images together because it is almost as if spencer is showing us the home front and homer, ironically
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named, is a showing us the war front. because homer was such a punster, i think he was very aware of his last name being relevant here. i think is maybe about himself and his own longings for home. another image from this time shows you the kind of raw, visual power that homer takes command of very early. does anyone want to describe this? can i ask you to throw out a few descriptive phrases about the painting? , the subject is warming -- prof. lubin: i miss the last part of that. >> the suspect is warm.
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is the sky.hat it seems like he is observing what is going on in the field. prof. lubin: excellent. wasme just pick up on what being said. there is the earth half and the sky half. brown blue,-- dark , gray, silver, sky up above and then this one figure standing on the embankment, rising into the sky. somebody tell me what is his body language? >> he looks kind of scared like something is going to happen. like you said last time, everything is dependent on his body language. he looks like he is observing a signal that is coming. prof. lubin: that is a really good interpretation. i want you to notice his right hand is balled into a fist.
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his left arm is counterbalancing behind him. he is a man in a precarious position. he is not on a tree, he is on the top of this embankment. he is hunching his shoulders, he is a confederate soldier shouting something to the yankees in the distance. the title of the painting gives it away. this was shot in petersburg, virginia where there was a series of battles. it is also called defiance. it is an image of a rebel soldier deifying the yankees to come get him. he is taunting them. way off in the distance you see a little puff of smoke. what is the puff of smoke? >> someone shooting him. prof. lubin: someone shooting him. he is daring them to come shoot at him. notice the human figures here.
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which we will look at in detail in a second. there are lots of little black figures that seem like humans are treesre not, they that have been destroyed by bombardment. this man is in an apocalyptic situation but showing defiance, courage, bravery. homer is part of the yankee side but he is showing the bravery of the confederate soldier. it is almost as if we can put these images together. the sharpshooter is the man of the tree who is firing at the loan soldier on the other side of no man's land. already, we see with homer the emphasis on the loneliness of the individual.
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even if you are sharing a tent in a small space with your comrade, you are still all alone, finally. this is a central theme of winslow homer. this goes through his work right up to the very end. we will be tracking that today. what you cannot see in the slide , or really at any time is there are a few men here and one of them is a black man. he has a banjo, can anybody see the figure? it is a complete racist caricature. it shows a figure with a banjo, looking scared, the whites of his eyes are showing, he is a figure of what would have been humor, of sort of casual, every
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day white racism in the north. the north is fighting a war against the south on the topic of slavery but there is plenty racism, anti-black racism in the north going on as well. racism going on in the north as well. -- anti-black racism in the north going on as well. i want to say that winslow homer, a child of his time, he is imbibing this sort of stereotype of the time. i believe he transcends of the stereotype, he arrives at a different place. in the beginning, he is fitting into that world. finished in 1866, this is the painting that made winslow homer famous. it was exhibited in new york and attracted very positive reviews and crowds came to see it. the title is clear, prisoners
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from the front. a young yankee general, kind of reminds me of ferris bueller, is receiving the laid down weapons of three confederate soldiers while the yankee guards are standing there. out of focus is the rest of the yankee troops. there is that same sort of torn up battlefield that we saw in defiance. the stumps of the trees. who can tell me about these three soldiers? that is the key to the painting, the three prisoners. each is different from the other. homer is telling us something about them by their composure. anyone want to take a move? >> the first one from right to left, wearing a cap seems to resemble the defiant character. this course we talk
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remember in about the aristocratic pose, the hand on the hip is a sign of control, manliness. continue. >> the guy in the middle has his hands clasped which would indicate that he is a little more nervous. prof. lubin: not only that, having your hands clasped was a sign of submission. handcuffed me, chain me, lock me up, i give up. he is the old man. young long-haired rebel, literally long-haired, the bearded philosopher slave. what about the third figure in the row? >> he looks more youthful, he has his hands in his pocket and how he is standing behind the old man. it seems like he is hiding. prof. lubin: that is a very good interpretation. this man is almost saying hey i am not really here. some of you in class are doing
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that right now. don't call on me, i am not really here. he has his hands shoved in his pockets. not sticking out and saying take me, but it's like, is almost like shucks, i am just a country boy. i don't know what is going on. he looks befuddled. he would have been seen as a country person. homer reinforces that. notice the horizon line of the hill goes up at a diagonal. it picks up with the man's shoulder. he is of the country. he is really not this outstanding sophisticate that the officer in the front is. i would say that is probably the same model as the man inviting the shot at petersburg.
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he has the bedroll over his shoulders in the hat. why would prisoners from the front be such a noteworthy painting? why did have a lot of effect on people? jackie, why do you think? >> because they were the main people that were fighting the battles. prof. lubin: it is a cross-section. homer is giving the north a cross-section of the confederacy. the heroic rebels, the old man who are dragged into it, the lower class, uneducated white people who did not know what is going on. he has humanize them. he is not showing them as evil people. he is not demonizing them as we have seen so often this class. people demonizing the enemy. homer is very courtly accepting
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their surrender in a positive way. northerners love the story of ulysses s. grant, and robert e lee, neither is speaking civilly to one another. it gave them a hope for a peaceful reconciliation at the end of the war. that proved not to be the case. i would say prisoners from the front embodies hope that there can be a humane ending to the war. i wouldn't say instead but another homer painting from this. period. veteran, any new field, 1865, 1866, what does this show? >> i see a man working on the field.
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prof. lubin: you mean the painting by william? because the man is a farmer and he is cutting down wheat. in western artistic traditions, what does this usually symbolize? >> usually you associate it with work and farming. or paradoxically it could be like a reaper. prof. lubin: the grim reaper. everybody has seen images of the grim reaper which symbolizes cutting down people as the farmer here is cutting down the wheat, the grim reaper cuts down people as they live. is that pushing this too far? is homer saying something about mowing down other people?
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what does this have to do with the war? >> it shows that in wars past, nothing remained standing. prof. lubin: so the desolation. he could be showing that nothing was safe. or had any sort of power against the war. prof. lubin: that is definitely one way of reading this. it is about how the war lays waste to everything in its path. the veteran symbolizes the killing machinery, the war. i find it interesting that the field is what is coming because i feel like the word veteran implies that he was a soldier at one point and now you are a veteran.
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prof. lubin: that is a very good explanation. once again, the new field is the postwar era. the reconstruction era. what happens when somebody who has spent four years of his life killing other human beings is now released back into civilization? what does he do with it? it was a concern for people in the north and the south. it was a huge concern in america after world war i and again after world war ii. there was a wonderful movie called the best years of our lives about veterans who return from the front of broad and the wall that they hit emotionally and economically when they get home, they can't find work for themselves and are not accepted. after the vietnam war, this was a huge problem. -- problem in the u.s.
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you see kind of the horizon line has been blocked. we don't have any view of what is to come. it is a wall in front of us, the viewer as much as it is in front of the soldier. by the way, you cannot really see this in the image, it has almost been rubbed out. you see homer puts the soldier , his union coat on the ground. he is taking off his coat and putting his shoulder into the work ahead of him. we don't know how that will profit. i love the fact that you see him capture the motions you make when you are scything. many years ago, i worked on a farm in the swiss alps. i know that motion and it is very dangerous, if you get
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carried away you might cut off an arm or two. i survived. a homer, after he paints a series of war images, it is almost like, lighten up when slow. let's get a more positive thing going on here. he starts painting new england school rooms new england young women, young boys courting, romancing. these are often seen as highly sentimental romantic valentine's day images. for homer, there is more to them than meets the eye. one of my favorites is the country school that is in the st. louis art museum. does a rather small painting, much smaller than what we see on our screen.
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we see a one-room country schoolhouse. a teacher is standing in the center reading a lesson. there are three, almost for windows visible. one on the fire left, to in the center, and the edge of one on the far right. the two center windows -- the blackboard behind the teacher. of these two windows can you see any difference between them or what we see out of them? the window on the left, the shade is up, there is a hillside, we see into the distance. there is a horizon out there. the window on the right, the shade is down and all you see is the grassy hillside beyond. what can you tell me about the kids? how are the children arranged? >> all the boys are on the left
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and all of the girls on the right. prof. lubin: separate spheres, internal segregation of boys on the left and girls on the right. we have a few details here. the boys are all barefoot. they come in from the fields to study lessons sitting under the window. on the right are the girls, dressed up with petticoats and boots. there are two little kids, this little girl looking at the boy next to her who is bawling his eyes out. he is probably crying because he is the only boy wearing shoes. he is stuck on the girls side. he does not like that. he wants to be with the boys. it is almost acute genre
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painting of the world into the male and female. i would say, the boy side, the window is open and has horizon and possibility. the girls side is closed. what about the teacher? she is female. julia, what is your take? >> she is framed by the chalkboard. she is only projecting her own knowledge. which can be observed by the boys and girls. she is in the middle of the two windows, bridging the gap between male and female spheres. the desk is moved toward the girls, preventing her from fully realizing her potential. prof. lubin: that is an excellent analysis.
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in rural new england after the civil war, there are only two or three options open for a young woman. she could get married and have children, work in the mill, be a prostitute, or a schoolteacher. there were not many options. being a schoolteacher is a dead end. there is no economic development. she will not go off to harvard after, which would not have accepted woman anyway. there are no further educational opportunities. homer might be suggesting by the blackboard behind her that she is the one who has met her dead end. the girls beneath the window, at least there is a place for them to go. she is frozen. another image homer paints, not nearly as powerful, and mower --
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more overt and it expresses that notion. it is called in recess. there the teacher is not young and pretty teacher, is having to stay in because she has given a boy detention. he has to read and she is sitting here looking board. boredom is a huge theme for homer. she wants to be outside in the sunlight, but instead, she is restricted in space. you could say winslow homer is about the -- some people think he is a misogynist. he puts females and inferior positions. i think you can make a case that whatever he was like in his personal life, his paintings are sympathetic to the case of people who are suffering a limitation. whether it is a veteran
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suffering what we now call posttraumatic stress disorder or a teacher realizes her horizons have been blacked out. homer was an outsider all of his life. he was particularly sensitive to the loneliness of other outsiders. this became one of homer's most famous paintings and is still a very famous painting. it is the image, almost tom sawyer image of american innocence. you have a number of barefoot boys. that is what they were called. that became the term for the young american boy he went out there and raise himself up by his bootstraps. he did not even have bootstraps. he is barefoot and in touch with nature. feet on the ground. the boys are playing a game outside the schoolhouse that we
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were just looking at from inside. they are nestled in a glenn in the countryside, the berkshire mountains, somewhere in northern new england or upstate new york. they are playing a game. i don't know if he could see it, but on the far left and lower left there are two girls with hoops watching. they are dressed up. they have shoes on. they are watching the boys play. what game are the boys playing/? does anybody recognize this game? >> we call it the line of murder. prof. lubin: the line of murder. homer would've love that title. >> stop the witch. prof. lubin: it is called crack the whip. what happens in this game? you have obviously played this game and survived. >> people end up being on the end and fly off the line.
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people toward the middle stay intact. is that a definition of conformism are what the people who stay in the middle stay safe and the outliers risk falling off from the communal chain. what happens is, the biggest and strongest boy is leaning back, holding the next biggest boy, who is holding this boy, holding this boy, what they try to do is move the line around as fast as possible. the weak link at the end falls off. is this homer talking about boys will be boys? america is so great and wonderful. is this a metaphor for anything? >> it could be a metaphor to say
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, one day they will be against each other. it is a game now but when they grow up, it will not be a game anymore. prof. lubin: great. riley is saying it is a game now but when they grow up it will get serious and they will play a version of this in the game is a childhood version of a dog responsibility. >> it looks like survival. prof. lubin: survival of the fittest was an idea that was very much in the public consciousness at that time. in 1859, darwin used the term natural selection to talk about how species or brands of florida and zoology survive and others go under. survival of the fittest was coined by herbert spencer, a biologist philosopher a few
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years later, saying that is what human existence is. darwin liked the term and picked it up in 1869. my question is, in 1872, one homer paints snapped the whip, is it far-fetched to think he is looking for a way of expressing what you have just seen? or are we just imagining something from a present-day perspective? >> the shape of the hill is curved. the hill is like the natural aspect so it associates them to nature. prof. lubin: there are two versions of this painting. this one is in toledo, ohio. the other is in the met in new york. the one in the met does not have the hillside. i prefer this one for the reason you are talking about, because of the convergence of forces.
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that is a huge theme of homer, forces converge and individuals are powerless to resist the forces. >> it seems like the strongest boys are on the right and as you move to the left, those of the boys fallen over, the weaker link. the two girls are even further back, even smaller, they are not even part of the competition. prof. lubin: there is a social hierarchy going on and at the girls are at the bottom. they are not even in the game. yes. this is what people talk about. the term social darwinism. it was coined at this time to apply darwinian rules, natural selection to society as a whole. it was used to justify
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laissez-faire capitalism. rich people deserve to be on earth. rich people deserve to live in fancy homes and have wealth. poor people are poor because they are not as smart, hard-working, deserving, therefore they are the bottom. i would say, homer, whether he is accepting natural selection and social darwinism or capitalism or critiquing it, either way, he is identifying that through his depiction of country life. he is touching on important social issues. another of his most famous paintings from this time is called breezy. it shows cape cod, a sailboat with one, 2, 3 lads and a bearded mariner. the boat is keeling in the wind, picking up the wind, picking up
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the breeze. there are sales in the distance. another boat, not too far away, siegel in the sky. of the boys, one of them has shoes. these two are barefoot. barefoot boys. 1876, what is 1876? the centennial, the recognition that america has been through a. --period of youth and adolescence and it is reaching its first maturity. could you see any way in which this painting his homers commentary on america in the future? sarah? >> they are traveling in control of the ship. you can see the waves in the back. in the background, it reminds me of the ships that people came to our country on, our origins and
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now we are going forward. this is the origins of the country and this is where we are today moving forward. prof. lubin: this is the origins of the country -- i think both of those interpretations work. what i am interested in is, it is a sweet picture of a dad and his kids, or an adult and his children. it is also about learning, progress, the future. the biggest, most consistent seen for homer is isolation of the individual. the second most important is the transmission of knowledge. how one generation can generate -- how one generation can educate the max. >> the precarious position of the boat, you cannot tell whether they are above the wind or about to flip over.
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point isin: sean's very well taking. the boat is precarious. we will see other boats more precarious. i want to note it is in a save harbor. if something should happen, these people are not far from rescue. that is important to note. this image introduced jack kennedy to the general national public when he was engaged to jaclyn bouvier. this was their courtship. senator kennedy goes according. the photographer from life went out with them off of hyannisport , where the kennedys lived, and, this is somebody who is going to be running for political office.
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he is shown as what? to use a term i have been using. >> a barefoot boy. prof. lubin: he is a barefoot boy. why would you want to show a sophisticated john f. kennedy in this situation as a barefoot boy? less elite. prof. lubin: it takes him away from the elite persona that will not get him elected and makes them an american boy. a tom sawyer. the association of barefoot being pure, authentic, connected to the earth. that same notion of honesty, boyishmeness. that is what kennedy was famous
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for, boyishness. people loved that. people adore that about him. i would say, the photographer took this -- he was known as a sports photographer -- whether he knew this painting by homer or not, he is referencing the same world. another 1876 painting of an older guy, it is hard to see his face because the rim of his hat is a backlit. the brim of the hat is covering his face. he is a big, full beard and he is pointing to a young woodsman wearing a bright red shirt carrying and acts. they are standing on a mountain slope. he is tracking down trees. cole say aboutas this? he would have been displeased at the idea of a traipsing into the wilderness to chop it down. this seems to be an image of
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incipient the naturalization denaturalization of america. where does homer stand on this? is he a plotting this? coal would have opposed this. where is homer standing? what i would say, homer was at his greatest as a neutral observer who tries to look at contemporary american life and visualize it in a way that resonates meaning. what he has -- 1876 is a watershed year. he has the old woodsman and the new woodsman side-by-side. the old is transmitting knowledge to the young woodsman. this is where to go next. again, an image of transmission.
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it is also an image of man and nature in a way that begins to suggest a domination of nature. after the civil war, around the same time, homer makes a couple trips down to virginia, the oak confederacy. he spends time with former slaves and gets to know them. he gets to know some of their former masters and mistresses. this is one of the masterpieces he paints at this time. the cotton pickers, showing two women -- she has a very heavy bag full of cotton. this woman has a basket full of cotton. it is pretty. a pretty scene that is delicately painted. pink, lavender, green, white, yellow.
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what emotion do you read from the two figures? it can be ambiguous, but what do you see with them? >> one of them is looking down and the other is looking off into the distance. prof. lubin: staring off into the distance. they do not look happy. they look neutral. -- >> they do not look happy. they look neutral. prof. lubin: this is part of the richest literature of the post-civil war. saying the dark people loved being slaves. that was the sweet home to them. homer is showing them despairing and desponding. this is what freedom brought us. we are still working ungodly hours for meager pay. we do not own anything. the cotton field, as pretty as at, is endless.
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it goes on and on. as annable said, this woman is bored, dejected, resentful. the other woman is fearful, looking off into the distance for a better world like a schoolteacher in a country school. homer -- we do not get detail in their face, but they're their bodies in positioning, we get a sense of who they are. >> the thing on their head, they are surrounded by blackness. like the chalkboard. they are enclosed. prof. lubin: they are locked in to their farm woman equipment. >> the face of the girl with the bag, it is almost like stoic where she is going to bear the
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burden gracefully and not openly display how despondent im. prof. lubin: she is stoic. the look of endurance. excellent. i think, homer, if you remember the shot at petersburg with the black man as a cliche stereo typical black minstrel with a silly look on his face, homer has become more sensitized by spending time with the oppressed. being sympathetic toward them. after his time in virginia, he goes to new york. he is not happy in new york. it is too big city. he goes to paris to study art and hates it. he comes back after a few months. he thinks this is not for me.
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he is a real loner. he moves to the north sea on the northeast coast of england to a village. he lives there for almost two years. he does amazing watercolors. he is one of the two or three greatest american watercolors, world-class watercolor painter. notice the way he gets the water pulling up on the sand as these four women walk with a baby on her back. they are pretty woman, a sentimentality that homer gets rid of. the fishermen community is there. this sky -- he uses muddy colors . . there is a sense of rain just happened or is about to happen again.
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he manipulates, takes an eraser to erase the surface of the watercolor paper to make it more porous and grabbing of the ink. this is possibly his masterpiece called inside the bar. it shows a fisher woman carrying a basket. her apron is swirling behind her. she is wearing clogs and standing over a title pool. the men are in a fishing dory. there is a boat here. he is either putting up or taking down the sail. the water is black and ominous than -- possibly, there are showers coming down. the woman is strong, physically strong, unlike those for fisher wives who seem delicate, fragile. this woman is it used to wrestling with elements. that became increasingly the way homer would depict women.
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what more can you tell me about her? sarah, make some comments about her physical command of the space. >> she is a powerful figure. her arms looked strong and toned . her stance exudes confidence. she seems firmly planted in her position. prof. lubin: unlike the earlier men in precarious positions, homer has her in a precarious position but she is taking control of the space. she commands the space. she is unafraid. i love the way her swooping apron -- the outline of her apron is picked up by the sale and the background and the shape of the dory to the right or get she is perfectly integrated with her world, her job, she is with
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the men in earning a living. >> where she is looking, that the dana. prof. lubin: rosie the riveter. this is straight out of rosie the riveter, which of course is dated the 1940's, but, same concept. excellent. after a couple of years in england, he moves to maine. his family owns a small property in southern maine. homer moved into the family house on prout's neck and lives the rest of his life there. he is pretty much a recluse. we have no record of him entertaining friends. as the stories would go, he became so famous that city people would come up from boston
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and new york to knock on his door and he would pretend he was not there because he did not want to be interrupted. he made a lot of contact with the mainers of prout's neck and that part of town, scarborough , maine. here is his gorgeous painting of saco bay, where prout's neck is located. you can go there today to his studio. it has been restored by the portland art museum. you can go to the studio and go out on these rocks of a woman carrying a lobster trap and another woman carrying the netting painted on them. when he shows woman, after the first showing of pretty farm girls, he shows woman as working-class people who are connected to the world and are a no-nonsense people.
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there is also -- look at the yellows at the top of the composition, the scarlet. a little bit of the sun. this is a sunset and of the cloud bank is mostly covering over the sun. there is a ship on the horizon. there is the earth. the shoreline. scarborough, maine. very powerful imagery. here is one of the most beautiful, sounding pictures. this is owned by the louvre. one of the only american paintings in the louvre collection. the 19th century branch of the .ouvre i have been to paraffin number of times and have seen people, french people, who have no idea who winslow homer was but they stopped in front of the painting. all it is showing is too young
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woman dancing on a wooden platform at night will other people watch waves coming in. it is also called "buffalo girls, want to come out tonight." folk song they are probably dancing to.
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